Prototyping A Camera Mount

130414 Helmet Camera Mount 2

3D printing makes it incredibly easy to crank out new parts on a whim.

For example, I'm about to make the trek to California for RoboGames and want to use a Contour ROAM2 HD action camera to capture some of the action - especially ComBots with the massive steel robots trying to inflict mortal damage on each other. I have the camera and have access to all areas of the venue. What I don't have is three hands. I always carry my Canon 5D Mark II for the still images and some video, and I have a light Nikon bridge camera for competition videos. The challenge was to find some way to operate the Contour that was basically hands-free.

After considering, and disqualifying, several approaches, I finally decided to use my bicycle helmet. I tried the stock Contour helmet mounts, but didn't like the way they felt - primarily because the camera sticks off to one side and is heavy enough that it is noticeable, and irritating.

130414 Helmet Camera Mount 3

It only took a few minutes to take some measurements of the top of my helmet and design a short plug to slip inside one of the air vents. Printing a test part to check the fit took a bit longer, of course.

130414 Helmet Camera Mount

Surprisingly enough, the test part fit perfectly without any modifications. The next step is to add the top flange for the camera. The mount is a snug fit, so I plan on securing it with some tape or velcro because I want it to be easily removable.

We'll see how it works this coming weekend when it is put into real use at RoboGames 2013.

Read More

King Kizer Can Knock Your Block Off – Literally (Video)

king kizer

Nao Maru's ROBO-ONE champion robot, Great King Kizer, caused a real stir after it earned the Best of Show award at RoboGames 2012 last April. Ever since he brought home the Gold Medal, Maru has received endless questions about his design and competition strategies.

One of the most frequently asked questions, especially from the foreign press, was, "How hard can King Kizer actually punch?* Never one to duck a challenge, Maru decided to King Kizer's power is just as strong as human karate fighters several times his height and weight.

Via: King Kizer Videos

Read More

National Polytechnic Institute – Mexico City – Wins 21 Medals at RoboGames

robogames mexico

The National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico City, took home a total of 21 medals at RoboGames 2012 last month giving Mexico the second highest number of medals, just behind the U.S.

Their outstanding performance included capturing gold and bronze medals in the 1 lb Autonomous Combat classification; dominating the Autonomous Sumo classifications with gold, silver, and bronze medals in several different categories; sweeping all medals in the Autonomous Line Follower classification; and more. 

Via: National Polytechic Institute - Mexico (PDF in Spanish)

Read More

Robot Duo Looking For Trouble

120420 RoboGames 2012-4 by Robots-Dreams
120420 RoboGames 2012-4, a photo by Robots-Dreams on Flickr.

Insanity Wolf and Zot gave a glimpse of the future of robot battle at RoboGames 2012.

Zot is one of the powerful, agile humanoid robots developed by Farrell Robotics that took home medals at the world's largest open robot competition held in San Mateo, California last month.

Insanity Wolf, a dual airsoft gun equipped quadroped robot operated remotely using a head mounted wireless camera, was designed by Andrew Alter, the primary driving force behind Mech Warfare.

Edit [5/9/2012]: Corrected Zot's name.

Read More

Aldebaran NAO Robot Challenges RoboGames Kung-Fu (Video)

nao robot

I mentioned in a post a few days ago that Jay Jay Napalan, a member of the Aldebaran NAO Robot Developers Program had the chance (and the guts) to compete at RoboGames 2012 in several different categories.

Some of the categories he picked were natural choices for the NAO humanoid robot, especially those that required autonomous or AI capabilities. But one of the categories really surprised me.

Napalan entered J2 in the middle-weight humanoid kung fu category where it would potentially go head to head with bruisers like King Kizer, Wimbleton, and KiaNaut. NAO has a well deserved reputation for being more of a 'lover' than a 'fighter', and it would be a shame to see the robots ascetically beautiful white plastic body and face scratched and bruised by the punishment that a middle-weight champion can dish out.

I've been waiting for someone to post a video of J2's RoboGames 2012 matches since somehow I missed the opportunity to record it. But, since a match video hasn't appeared yet, the best I can offer is the J2 practice session video below.

(more…)

Read More